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Poster: Jim Carlile Date: Oct 29, 2008 1:42pm
Forum: texts Subject: Will Google be 'illegally' charging for post-1922 PD books?

I'm sure word is getting around about Google's new deal with publishers-- where they will pay them off and then commence with a fee policy for in-copyright OOP books.

This doesn't surprise some of us-- a quick glance at their U.C. agreement when it came out a few years ago showed that this was the whole business model behind their scanning program: the eventual desire to make OOP books available through their service, at a price.

A few of us also noticed that this explained why Google was holding back many full-view scans of pre-1922 PD books, if there were later re-releases of them, say in 1956 or 1978, as an example. The reason became obvious- for them to make available PD versions of these texts would kill the market for the later copyrighted OOP re-releases.

Fortunately, Google has been better in this area lately, as well they should be, because their agreement with U.C. at least requires that they make all PD books fully available on their site.

But here's the problem. Google interprets PD as being pre-1922. But a HUGE number of 1922-1964 books are also in the PD, because their copyrights were never individually renewed.

Because their U.C. agreement requires full release of all PDs, and because their new plan is to charge for OOP copyrighted works, does this mean that they are going to be charging a fee for full scans of books that are already in the PD?

If libraries such as U.C. join their new JSTOR-like subscription plan, where patrons can download at will, why would they be put in the position of paying for PD scans that are already required to be made available for free, by agreement?

The problem for Google is that they are now going to have to check the individual copyright status of all 1922-1964 OOP books, and make the PD ones available on their site for free. But will they?

Any bets that they won't? They're not doing this now....

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Poster: stbalbach Date: Oct 30, 2008 7:50am
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Will Google be 'illegally' charging for post-1922 PD books?

Good point. It's funny, Google was accused for being "evil" for putting copyright works online for free - now they are being accused of putting public domain works online for a fee - they can't win! My understanding is they set the 1923 date to be safe since they were still in negotiations with publishers and didn't want to take any chances and everyone could agree that pre-1923 was safe and there was no controversy.

The 1923-65 are more complicated to determine. Now they have the settlement maybe they will start a project to make those works available that are in the PD. There is also a new database which authors can register copyright status and resolve the orphan works problem, may be related.

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Poster: Jim Carlile Date: Oct 30, 2008 1:59pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: Will Google be 'illegally' charging for post-1922 PD books?

It'll be interesting to see what happens. Google still won't release a lot of pre-1923 scans, especially if there are post-1923 reissue versions around. They boast about having the renewal records in their database, so it's probably time they start using them. The Internet Archive does.

Another question: the settlement stipulates that Google will institute a JSTOR-like subscription model for colleges, etc. where patrons can download newer books for free. Nice idea- (though it does create a monoculture and encourage libraries to toss their hard copies.)

But, will the host libraries like UC and Michigan be able to get a FREE subscription, for allowing Google to scan their own books? Why not?

Or will they be forced to pay Google for access to-- their own books?! I hope someone in the legal depts at these schools are on the ball, and get a negotiated freebie. The host libraries certainly deserve it.

I have a sneaky feeling that none of this is going to come easy, and Google will end up owning all of these books, with a fee model attached to most of them, even the PD ones. This is what ususally ends up happening in time.